With winter in full swing, we hope you enjoy the first of several case studies to bring you inspiration and ideas for your garden. Spring is only a few weeks away!

The owners of this charming vintage home, nestled in the heart of Evanston, love nature, gardening and entertaining. As volunteers at the Chicago Botanical Garden, they bring their efforts home to beautify their yard and attract birds and butterflies. But they were running out of room for their many plant additions, and also lacked an outdoor setting in which to relax and entertain.

To create more gardening space, we removed the lawn and converted most of it into beds. In order to “bring the party to the garden”, we added hardscaping. A curved bluestone path welcomes guests. A curved raised planter, built of the owners’ reclaimed street pavers and topped with rockfaced bluestone coping, sits along the path, near the back door. The planter brings herbs closer to the kitchen, at arm’s reach, and also doubles as seating. Stepstones off the path lead to a round bluestone patio in a location that surrounds guests with lush greenery, a perfect setting for bookworms and social butterflies alike.

With a colorful array of edible and ornamental plants, a bird bath and bird feeder, the garden provides food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young, and was recently designated a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation*.

*For more information on certifying your garden, please visit http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Outdoor-Activities/Garden-for-Wildlife.aspx